By Mark Piatt
Updated on February 17, 2023
In magickal circles, the magical properties of white sage (Salvia apiana) are often associated with purification and cleansing rituals. Burning white sage can cleanse your aura or can help to release negative energy.
White sage is a member of the mint family (Lamiaceae), which includes over 900 species in the Salvia genus which comes in a variety of colors, and sizes, and can grow in many environments.
The most popular sage is known as a garden sage or common sage, Salvia officinalis.
But for the purpose of magick, white sage, also known as California white sage, bee sage, and sacred sage, is the sage mainly used.
This variety only naturally grows in the Mojave and Sonoran deserts and the Southwest United States.
Native Americans have long used this herb for fighting colds, chest congestion, and various rituals and ceremonies.
Because of the increased interest in both Native American and Western Witchcraft traditions, this plant has become overharvested.
To help save the species, try using common garden sage to perform your rituals whenever you can since this species can be readily grown across the globe.
Garden sage has many of the same metaphysical properties as white sage and has been used by various cultures throughout the world in their magical rituals, but white sage is considered the most powerful magickal sage.
White sage is often confused with sagebrush, Rocky Mountain Sage, and silver sage. Although similar in appearance, these are Wormwoods.
But many of these species can also be used in various magickal rituals.
White sage is a more fragrant plant compared to other sages and produces a much more intense resinous, sour/sweet-like scent.
Although you can eat white sage since it has a herbal, slightly peppery flavor, it is mainly used for incense.
As a general rule, white sage has magickal and spiritual powers that include 5 main properties (although there are more):
- Granting of wishes
- Alleviate the sorrow of the death of a loved one
There is always more than one way to accomplish your magickal goals. Using the magickal properties of white sage is but one tool from an arsenal of tools and techniques you should be using.
Take these suggestions we give you as a base, and make them your own.
Magick takes the energies that are naturally in the elements of earth, air, fire, and water, and combines them with the practitioner’s power to create change and accomplish their goal, whether that change is good or bad.
Using incense, candles, and other various props can stimulate your magickal senses, but they are not necessary. But if they work, by all means, use them.
If you are interested in learning more about how you can use white sage in your magickal rituals, check out the following book by Amy Blackthorn:
- Sage is masculine.
- The vibration of white sage is part of the fire and air elements.
- Sage is associated with Jupiter because of its reputation for protection, wisdom, and good luck. Some practitioners will associate sage with the moon.
- The astrological sign of sage is Capricorn because herbs such as white sage are high in calcium. Since Capricorn is ruled by Jupiter, sage is associated with joints and bones.
- Sage is associated with the deities Jupiter, Zeus, Amun, and Thor. Sage is also a symbol of the Virgin Mary.
- Sage is associated with the throat chakra.
- Sage is related to wisdom, long life, good luck, and immortality.
5 Magical Properties Of Sage
Using plants and herbs is one of the oldest magickal tools in old-world magick. Over many years, through observation and use, people have learned the magickal properties of white sage.
Of all the magickal herbs, burning sage is one of the oldest and purest methods for clearing a space or people of unwanted spirits.
The smoke from burning sage fills the area with negative ions which help neutralize positive ions.
“Things” that have positive ions include pet dander, dust, mold, and pollution.
Adding negative ions into the atmosphere has the effect of putting people in a positive mood and pushing out negative energy.
White sage has been important to the indigenous peoples of California and Mexico for thousands of years because of its medicinal and ceremonial properties.
Since being discovered by the rest of the world, sage has become the most important sage to use for various spiritual rituals.
Unfortunately, sage is almost entirely harvested from the wild in a small area. Sustainable farming of sage is currently not taking place.
The remaining populations of white sage are now threatened by overharvesting and climate change which has resulted in drought and wildfires where the plant naturally grows.
Sage is also being poached by illegal harvesters because of its popularity and money-making potential.
Because of these issues, please consider your white sage as very sacred and treat it with respect. Only burn the smallest amount to achieve your goals.
But if you would like to use sage in your magickal and spiritual rituals, here are some examples of how you can use white sage.
Can sage be used in purification rituals?
Of all the herbs with purification and cleansing properties, burning sage has the best success at clearing the negative energies from spaces, people, and objects. If you feel there is negative energy in your home or workspace, smudging white sage can help to dispel that space of negative energy.
The practice of smudging is a common practice for indigenous cultures that use sage to create a sacred smoke that is used for both medicinal and ceremonial rituals.
Burning sage can banish evil entities and cleanse a space of any residual negative energy.
You can also wear or carry a sachet of sage to help protect you from “the evil eye”.
The smoke from sage can also be used to consecrate and purify your magickal and sacred tools such as amulets, talismans, charms, etc.
If you are planning on performing rituals, it is important to cleanse your space before performing those rituals. Burning sage before performing these rituals will help to ensure your space is as pure as possible.
You can either burn loose sage in a ceramic, clay, or glass bowl or burn your sage from loosely tied bundles, such as these White Sage bundles from Amazon.
The smoke from sage can be quite powerful and can cause asthma to flair up for those people who are sensitive to smoke.
As an alternative, you can use an ultrasonic diffuser to diffuse sage essential oil.
Can sage be used for protection?
Indigenous people of North America have long used white sage to protect their bodies and spaces from negative energy and to ward off evil.
The goal of protection magick is to banish and protect you or your space from negative energy and strengthen your inner power.
The magickal cleansing powers of sage may help strengthen your protection rituals and banish unwanted entities.
While using magick, you will inadvertently attract the attention of beings from both the physical and spiritual planes, some of which may not be very friendly.
Some of us are aware of our abilities to sense things that science can not currently explain. On a personal note, that is what has opened me up to the possibilities of magick.
But if we can sense things on the other side, perhaps some of those things can sense us.
Thus, we may find ourselves in need of magickal protection.
If you are practicing any kind of “magick”, or have special abilities such as psychic or empathic abilities, then understanding how to protect yourself is a necessary skill.
If you do not have white sage, you can substitute it with common garden sage, since it has nearly the same protective characteristics as white sage, but if you can, try to always use white sage.
Burring sage also has the added benefit of being able to kill some bacteria, viruses, and fungi in the air.
If you are unable to grow your own sage or if you are a beginner, your best bet is to purchase a pre-wrapped bundle of white sage.
If you grow your own sage, you can make your own smudge stick with the following instructions.
- Bind fresh or partially dried sage with natural twine.
- Use a piece of twine that is 4 times the length of your sage bundle.
- Create a knot around the sage on one end.
- Wrap the twine up tightly in a spiral around your sage. Tuck in any stray stems while you are wrapping the twine.
- Once you reach the top of the bundle, crisscross the twine as you wrap down in the opposite direction.
- Tie the end to the original knot you made at the bottom of the bundle.
- Hang your bundle in a dry sunny spot for about 3 weeks.
After you have burned sage in your space, the vibe of the space should change to feel fresh and full of positive energy.
Before burning your white sage smudge stick, it is important to be in the right frame of mind.
- Focus your mind on clearing the negative energy out of your space and mind.
- Once you have done this, light your white sage and hold it at a 45-degree angle down towards the flame.
- After about 30 seconds blow it out.
- If you are using it to smudge your home, walk around your home object, or person, allowing the smoke to cleanse the negative energy.
Hanging a branch of sage over your door absorbs and protects you from ill fortune.
Can sage be used to help you meditate?
Sage can help you meditate by preparing your energy and mind and by removing negative energy from your space.
Keep in mind that you do not want to overpower your meditative area with smoke. You only want to use enough to achieve your goal.
If you are using a white sage smudge stick, I suggest you only allow it to burn for 30 seconds.
For meditating, I prefer to use white sage incense sticks.
Sage incense sticks or cones are great for enhancing your room during meditation, prayers, or other ceremonies. They give off a small amount of smoke compared to using a smudge stick.
I have tried a variety of brands and have been happy with all of them. If you are interested, Amazon has a nice variety of White Sage Incense Sticks.
There is a drawback to using these small incense sticks.
Incense sticks are usually made by soaking the unscented stick in essential oils, such as white sage essential oil.
Keep in mind that when you burn sage incense sticks, you are also burning the wood, incense paste, and white sage.
For the purist, white sage smudge sticks would be your best option since you don’t have any of these other impurities.
Creating essential oils requires a huge amount of material. I have not been able to find any data on how much sage is required to produce sage essential oil, but it must be a very large amount.
If you are interested, here is a short but very interesting article and video by Robert Seidel, president of The Essential Oil Company showing how they make a small batch of White Sage Essential Oil. (Note: We are not affiliated with this company, but I thought you would find this information interesting. This company has been producing essential oils since 1977.)
We have an article entitled “How Many Pounds Of Materials Does It Take To Make Essential Oils” that you should read.
I think you will be shocked to see how much material is required to produce some of the more popular essential oils.
Can sage be used to grant you wishes?
As part of a greater ritual, writing your wish on a sage leaf may grant you your wish. Also, drinking sage tea can help you in making your wishes come true.
We all have many traditions in wish granting.
Some will make a wish upon a falling star. Some will make a wish and then blow the dried seeds from a dandelion.
Most of us make a wish and then blow out the candle on our birthday cake.
And finally, some of us will save the “wishbone” from a turkey, each person will grab each end and tug. Whoever gets the biggest piece, their wish will come true.
But did you know there is a ritual to grant a wish by writing that wish on a sage leaf?
Performing any type of ritual requires intent.
Be sure you have completed whatever ritual you perform to clear your mind and focus on manifesting your wish. Then do the following:
- On a full moon, light a candle, preferably a white candle.
- Write your wish on a sage leaf.
- You may wish to hold a clear quartz crystal to help focus your thoughts.
- Close your eyes and focus on your wish.
- Once you feel that enough energy has been put into the spell, open your eyes and chant the following:
- Blow out the candle and thank the Goddess for her help.
- Place the sage leaf under your pillow for 3 nights.
- If you dream about your wish, then there is a chance that it may come true.
- If after 3 nights you don’t dream of your wish, bury your sage leaf so nothing bad happens to you.
Why do you perform this white sage wish ritual on the full moon?
The full moon is the most powerful time of the month.
Who is the Lady Of Silver magic?
The moon queen.
If you are interested in learning more about moon magic, then I suggest you read “Moon Spell Magic: Invocations, Incantations & Lunar Lore for a Happy Life“ by Cerridwen Greenleaf.
Can sage be used to alleviate grief and sorrow?
Sage is often used during death ceremonies because it can help relieve some of the sorrow caused by the death of a loved one.
Sage is often used as a spiritual healing tool, especially in times of sorrow.
Burning sage can release negative energy and cleanse your aura, both of which are important to do when you are dealing with the death of a loved one.
In many cultures, sage is used to treat depression, anxiety, and various other mood disorders, all of which can result from the death of a loved one.
Burning sage can also reduce your stress levels and for some people, sage can improve the quality of sleep one has.
You can either use a sage smudge stick or you can use loose sage leaves that you burn in a ceramic, clay, or glass bowl.
You can also place some sage in your satchel (medicine bag) and carry it with you.
White sage is a very special and sacred herb to the indigenous people of North America.
When using sage in your rituals, please keep this in mind and treat it with great respect.
This special herb is threatened by encroaching development, smugglers, drought, and wildfire.
Next time you want to use white sage in a ceremony or ritual, ask yourself if common sage would work instead. If common sage will work for your purposes, consider using garden sage instead of white sage.
Making white sage essential oil requires a tremendous amount of plant material. I would suggest you do not purchase white sage (Salvia apiana).
Instead, purchase garden sage (Salvia officinalis).
If you are interested in learning about some general magical properties of essential oils, check out my article “15 Magical Properties of Essential Oils“.
If you know of other magical properties of white sage or different ways to use sage on your spiritual journey, we would love to hear from you so we may incorporate what you share in this article.